A 6 year old’s words & body image…

I am writing this towards the end of the day on Day Three. It hasn’t been too hard. I’m probably on the equivalent of an adrenaline high as I am excited to be taking measures to gain control of my health. I was on my blog here yesterday morning and my older daughter came over to check out what I was doing. I was on Day One’s post looking to see if it needed further editing and she asked me to scroll back. (I had just scrolled down past my Before photos) She asked if I was showing off my phone. I tell her no that I was just taking some pictures. Then, she asks why I am wearing a bathing suit, while she gesticulates around her upper body. I laugh. Clearly I am not wearing a bathing suit in my pics. What is this 1922?! She is not used to seeing me in tank tops or anything form fitting out in public (but for a bathing suit when I am forced). I tell her that I wanted to take some pictures of my body. “Why are you taking a picture in those? They make you look fat.” I pause for a moment to think of how to respond. I then say that I want to get healthier and making choices to do so. Taking the pictures is a way for me to track how I am doing. She must have been satisfied with my answer. She immediately moved on to the next subject crowding her brain…

Back to her words ~

I try (and think have been relatively successful to date) to avoid criticizing my looks vocally. Mentally is a different story . Unless someone is a telepath unbeknownst to me. No one in this household can read minds, thankfully I am safe. Also, I try to be conscientious about criticizing people’s looks. If I share something out loud, I try to state it as a neutral observation. If I have ever used the word fat to describe someone’s appearance, I can truthfully say it has never been about a single person (myself included). It will usually be about some fat, fluffy animal that I want to squeeze and name George. However, I do not limit this to the term fat alone. Pretty much anything that is spoken with disdain regarding people’s appearance, I try to avoid it. When she used the actual word “fat”, it threw me off for a minute. I chewed on it for a while at the gym later in the morning. I realized she had said it clearly as an observation and not with any malice. She didn’t call me fat. She said what I was wearing made me look fat. Which I interpret to mean that she doesn’t think of me as overweight. Frankly, she spoke the truth. Which is why I dreaded putting on the clothes that I chose to take the pictures in to begin with – case closed! Or is it?

Regarding body image ~

Let’s face it, it is a rare person that does not have issues with something about their looks. We all know and are exposed daily to all the things that feed into this issue. I am not looking to air it all out here and now. I would be typing for days.

However, I think it is very important to watch what you say around children. Womp womp – nothing new there. But, it bears repeating. When you start putting too much emphasis on looks, it starts a downward spiral of unintentional ugliness (no pun intended). For instance, constantly telling your child how cute she/he is. I’m not saying you can’t pay a kid a compliment, of course you should. I’m talking about daily comments that focus attention on their looks. Kids can’t help but start to equate their value in their looks. This also goes in the opposite, as well. Saying something they choose to wear or do regarding their looks as ugly or using some other disdainful term and/or tone. Again looking good = worthiness. (This also includes speaking about other people in this manner, as well)  Yes, we all want our kids to look good, clean, and well-groomed. It’s a matter of how much emphasis is based on physical appearance. They will, unfortunately, learn that unwanted lesson and sad reality very early due to exposure beyond our control. I think we should try to instill their confidence in other areas other than looks to help lessen life’s blows.

With that said, I have written it here that I am unhappy with my appearance. Shockers- a woman unhappy with her looks! It is more than that. I want to take all the measures I can to try to be around for my daughters for as long as possible. We’re talking mortality here. That is what I feel I am mostly doing – addressing my health and what is in my control. It just so happens that my health also coincides with shrinking of my waist line. If I happen to start looking and feeling better while getting healthier, I won’t complain.

So, I put it out to all of us. Love yourself, love your children. Maybe first comment on how proud you are of them. Compliment them on their: kindness; ability to make smart choices;  work ethic; their passion for a subject; artistic abilities; how well they are working at a sport they love; accomplishments; etc.. Then, when they are looking particularly spiffy, tell them how nice they look. Always remind them how much you love them because they are your child, God’s child and will forever be worthy of love. After all of that, turn it on to yourself. Remember, you too are someone’s child, God’s child forever worthy of love. If we all worked at some component of this, maybe we could change the world.

It is certainly something to consider.

Foodie Friday’s highlight – FAT BOMBS!

Until then…

 

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